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Flake: 'Concern' about what Trump might promise Putin

13 July, 2018, 02:46 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Trump takes swipe at Nato just days before crucial summit

Though the Nato's funding has become a key issue between the U.S. and Europe, for East European countries that are located closer to Russian Federation, the summit is an opportunity to increase the troops stationed on their soil as a show of strength vis-à-vis Moscow. Such considerations, he outlined on Twitter.

Although NATO has much to be triumphalist about as it stages its first biennial summit at its new billion dollar headquarters in Brussels, many summit leaders paradoxically appear anxious as they face the alliance's de-facto leader, Donald Trump, who brings with him tough talk on defense spending.

Berlin has given political support to the building of a new, $11-billion pipeline to bring Russian gas across the Baltic Sea called Nord Stream 2, despite qualms among other European Union states.

Trump, who will travel on from Brussels to Britain and Finland, where he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin, again attacked the European Union as he left Washington.

He will also visit the United Kingdom at a time when the government of Prime Minister Theresa May faces another political crisis following the resignation of two of her principal ministers, both critics of her Brexit plan to negotiate a smooth withdrawal from the European Union.

"I'll tell NATO: 'You've got to start paying your bills, '" Trump pledged at a rally last week in Montana in which he bemoaned that Americans were "the schmucks that are paying for the whole thing".

Trump has said the highly anticipated summit may be the "easiest" of his meetings, adding that he "can't say right now" whether Putin is a friend or foe, describing him instead as a "competitor". That's "70 to 90 percent to protect Europe", said President Trump. "America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many".

Woody Johnson, Trump's ambassador to the United Kingdom, said the president is aware of the planned protests but insisted that Trump "appreciates free speech" in both countries.

Frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them.

"We've had a very wonderful two-day period in Brussels", Trump told reporters.

The report said a wider range of metrics should be used to measure an ally's contributions to collective defense.

Trump predicted as he departed Washington that the "easiest" leg of his journey would be his scheduled sit-down Putin - a comment that did little to reassure allies fretting over his potential embrace of a Russian leader US intelligence officials accuse of meddling in the 2016 elections to help Trump win.

The president made numerous false claims during the 40-minute surprise conference with reporters at the end of the annual North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, and Trump claimed credit for a defense spending increase agreement reached under the George W. Bush administration. "Will they reimburse the USA?" he wrote.

She added that Germany is NATO's second-largest provider of troops and maintains engagement in Afghanistan alongside USA forces. "The president has determined that now is the time for direct communication between himself and President Putin, and that it is in the interest of the United States, in the interest of Russian Federation, in the interest of peace and security around the world".

Trump threw cold water on the love fest by pulling out of the Paris climate agreement and a nuclear accord with Iran, two initiatives the Obama administration signed onto in 2015 and Macron strongly backs.

"I think that getting along with Russian Federation, getting along with China, getting along with others is a good thing, not a bad thing", he added.

On this point, the defense minister conceded that Trump's emphasis on defense spending was valid. Then he singled out one: "they must do much more". The summit also will offer Putin a chance to try to persuade Trump to lift some of the sanctions imposed on Russian Federation over its 2014 annexation of Crimea, its support for separatists fighting the government in eastern Ukraine and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. In effect, they have turned the tables on the USA president, taking the thorny issue of money out of the equation and testing Trump's commitment to European stability itself.



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